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Being white and disabled is also a constant struggle.
Even subjectively determining schizophrenia is flawed. as you know. A lot of real world evidence of diagnosing is suppressed (as you also know!) but it would make for fascinating reading to be able to look at the data and see things like: what percentages of people have been multiply diagnosed before and after their schizophrenia diagnosis; what happened to bring about the diagnosis; how many other diagnoses the person had before schizophrenia; how many diagnoses they had after.
Also an interesting one would be how many people who achieved non-relapsing recovery from schizophrenia by rejecting conventional drug treatments, were then rediagnosed with a personality disorder.
The gene studies of schizophrenia appear to assume that a diagnosis meets some kind of gold standard. I know that you know that too.
The stigma of schizophrenia begins with terrible acts and behaviours committed by some people with schizophrenia.
What follows is that everyone identified as having schizophrenia then carries the cross for those bad deeds, even though they didn’t commit those deeds themselves.
To suggest that a change of noun combined with a bigger dragnet (via the notion of a spectrum of disorders, rather than one) will reduce stigma is bizarre, unless you think stigma can be diluted like a bad taste.
A much better solution would be to have one noun for people who have committed bad deeds and another noun for people who have not committed bad deeds.
That way only the people who have committed the bad deeds must carry the cross for those deeds.
That is why we have multiple nouns for criminals. A murderer criminal and a thief criminal are all on the spectrum of criminality, but we do not insist that a minor theft criminal should be given the same noun as a rapist criminal, even though they are all on the criminal spectrum.
Why should a petty thief carry the cross for a rapist?
Schizophrenia studies have become so confused and lacking any scientifically valid basis it’s no wonder really we’re in such a mess and that genuinely sincere people come along with straight faces suggesting new nouns are the way ahead out of a surreal maelstrom they have stonefacedly co-created.
This is a brilliant essay that provokes much thought. So much in fact that I am unable to comment just yet, as I need to read it again!
Will Hall’s honesty is striking throughout.
I don’t know the equivalent laws in the USA and elsewhere, but no doubt they have them. And where they don’t. human rights and disability activists are pushing hard for them.
I’ve mentioned already the CRPD. In the UK we also have the Equality Act 2010. That has advanced disability rights significantly too.
Disablism is rife in all areas of life, including within disability groups. Disablist policies and practices and incidents and individuals must be challenged for progress to be made.
Arguably the greatest achievement in the history of mad disabled and physically disabled people in all time is the Convention on the Rights of People With Disabilities (CRPD).
The CRPD came about through the solidarity of all disabled peoples the world over and is inclusive, making exactly the same demands of every nation state for all its disabled people.
Rejection of disability, both as an identity and an opportunity for activism, is holding the mad disabled movements back. And it is almost entirely a disablist motivation. The rejection of solidarity.
This is an interestingly disablist article and I thank Lisa Archibald for writing it, if only because it illuminates the deep disablist prejudices that run deep through many contemporary so-called “mad” activists.
There is a disturbing subtext to the rejection of disability, which is basically a refusal to be aligned with those comrades with physical disabilities. And yet these are the only people on this Earth that know and live and suffer under the Othering that we do too.
“O, I’m not like that!” certain sections speak of one another, “I’m not one of them.”
Irony being that all mad activists are able to be mad activists because of the triumphs of disability activists, who have helped bring about huge moves in human rights and social and economic concessions.
It is the refusal of disability that holds some back.
Also one major flaw of Judi Chamberlin and other activists is that they run deep with injustices made against them, but fall silent about the injustices against others that originate from their own manors.
Why can’t we be more honest about that?
Removed for moderation.
“I am anti-drug in my basic approach to life.”
No caffeine. No aspartame or other synthetic sweeteners. No white sugar or processed sugars. No alcohol. No nicotine. And if you are true to your ethic, then almost all food will be denied by you too, as it is psychoactive. Wow. Ascetics are hard to come by these days so I type in sincere awe.
How do you approach the fact that your brain and body are constantly producing drugs, many of which are prohibited narcotics when produced outside the body? How do you approach the fact that you are fundamentally a drug-induced being?
Is your anti-drug approach to life, anti-life?
Asking for a friend…
There are people who have been so damaged by some of the mainstays of mainstream psychiatric drugging that they can no longer experience the fullness of human joy or sorrow, the fullness of human laughter or remorse, the fullness of human love or hate.
They are permanently numbed. Permanently mediocre in their emotional and experiential range
Many too have been physically damaged by the mainstays of psychiatric drugging and so it is, in many instances, another cruelty to recommend they go find their healing in a gym, a wood, or by involving themselves in extreme sports.
Allowing sensible prescriptions of psychedelics is to allow an olive branch to people who would otherwise live the remainder of their life in drug-damage-induced mundanity, never again to know euphoric joy, euphoric connection, euphoric release.
Why should the manics and the manics alone have all the fun?
On that level, I condone the entrance of these drugs into the psychiatric armamentorium, if only as a form of compensation to those millions permanently nullified by SSRIs, neuroleptics, benzos and so on.
Some people deserve a high after all they’ve been through. Also, for this to happen without all the claptrap of the New Age, is very welcome too. Sometimes pseudoscientific speculations are a refreshing break from the spiritual bullshitters.
Bad trips are quite rare, so no need to overstate them or play mock-horrified at the thought of people suffering them. Most people that see or feel bad things simply need to be encouraged to change their focus. Low doses of these hallucinogens aren’t going to send anyone to the moon.
A pleasant trip from time to time is perfectly healthy and will definitely help people stuck in a rut. These natural agents have been under our noses for a long time and it’s good to see people finally overcoming their phobias and biases and recognising that sensible doses of hallucinogens can form part of some peoples’ health maintenance routines.
Fiachra wrote; “Within Peer Groups I have seen people openly and willingly discuss the most traumatic experiences imaginable.
The reason Peers can volunteer to discuss very deep personal experiences is because they have ‘permission’ to discuss them, and they know that they are in a suitable place to do so.”
There are people who overshare without even realising. There are people who overshare and realise they are doing it and enjoy it and think it’s normal. And there are people who overshare because they are in an explotative dynamic and they don’t realise their mistake until its too late.
I suppose certain groups form to facilitate oversharing and sometimes these groups will become quite intense and overwhelming.
MDMA though is more of an emotional and physical/sensual/sexual experience.
“I also think, every experience under drugs will be an illusion.”
Interesting thought. Especially given that thoughts are generated by psychoactive substances generated within the brain and the body.
Many current philosophers and neuroscientists consider the mind to be an illusion constructed by the brain and body.
There is no self without drugs.
“Jeffrey Mousseif Masson was clear in his book, Against Therapy, we do not need therapy or psychiatrists, we need understanding friends/communities and to stay away from toxic people and situations, and drugs.”
I agree that it’s a good idea to keep away from toxic people. However, I consider all people to be toxic in some way or other. So, it isn’t really achievable to avoid toxic people.
Also, toxic people are often the very people that need the most help from others.
How do toxic people detoxify if everyone is legging it away from them?
MDMA is wonderful in the sense that even very toxic people, or people going through a toxic stage, will be transformed by it into smiley, happy, empathic, loving, groovey-eyed and gushy grinners. Which in itself is an answer to the problem: if we must avoid toxic people how do toxic people get help?
It’s encouraging to witness pseudoscience and hardcore woo infiltrating the psychologies.
EMDR is a kind of secular faith healing.
One can also perform magical ritiuals at home without making a pilgrimage to Lourdes or the psychologist’s office.
Faith Healing works for the people that want it to work and the occasional sceptic that also wants it to work but insists that it can’t.
Others write here occasionally offering up their own take on faith healing, and really it’s one performance utilising different costumes and props.
The placebo effect is a massive money-spinner. I can empathise with the temptation to dress up as a wizard or dress down as a suited professional and play up to an imagined audience. The healing professions attract some very colourful characters. Overall their heart is in the right place.
Maybe it is time to do away with all of medicine and just have people darting their eyes around.
“Sounds an awful lot like a ‘schizophrenic’ breakdown, doesn’t it?”
“And how does one account for the fact that the percentage of ‘schizophrenics’ in our society (about one in one hundred) is roughly equal to the percentage of shamans in today’s remaining tribal societies?”
One in a hundred schizophrenics in our society is not a fact, it’s an oft-repeated fiction.
“Dependence on anything is never good.”
Other than water, dependence on water. Which is a psychoactive. And oxygen, a psychoactive. Food, most of which is psychoactive. All essential dependencies.
Then, for many people, who self-define as social beings, there is the dependence on others, on being allied and connected to other social beings, and being dependent on it. And that being essential and good.
Dependence on love, loving and being loved. Witnessing love. And it is widely known, that love is a drug. Can’t you see? Love is the drug that I’m thinking of.
Humans are dependent and addiction-formin beings.
It is a mistake to make a taboo of dependence. Everyone is a myriad of dependencies and addictions.
Map out your dependencies and you’ll map out a vague shadow of your being. Colour that map with your addictions and you’ll add body to that shadow. And it’s shifting, always, as the sun rises and falls and your being contorts and distorts.
Anne Guy speaks a lot of sense about dependencies and addictions and the problems of withdrawal from any dependency, and the need for the pain of suffering of prescribed drug withdrawal to be acknowleded, and if needs be, supported.
People need support to find new dependencies and new addictions and to broaden their experience of dependence and addiction, to make a lifelong commitment to psychoactive variance,
People do think sluggishly. We all do at times.
SLUGGISH THINKING PEOPLE DOMiNATE,
Excuse the caps, it was a mis-hit but I LEFT IT there for effect.
Without sluggish thinking we’d have big problems on our hands. The far right and the far left would be existentially threatened.
SLUGS LEAVE A SLIME TRAIL AND SO DOES SLUGGISH THINKING.
Again that was an unintended caps-on but looks aesthetically brilliant,
Follow the slime trail and trace it back to the sluggish thinker or the sluggish thought.
Slugs themselves simply rest upon the vibrant living thing and absorb its energy.
A revolution is indeed an alternative.
Which revolution would you prefer?
And then what will be the outcome of your preferred revolution? Will it resemble your ideals, or more something else?
The End of the World is a beautiful revolutionary beginning.
Maybe not for us, but some other being.
We must not be envious or spiteful towards those beings that inherit the earth. If they also succeed, they will also dismally fail.
And if enough time lapses between success and failure then worry not, for along comes the unexpected apocalyptic event no-one bargained for, or was willing to endorse.
Be kind as often and for as long as you can. For as long as there is bread enough to share.
And live in hope that you will not live in a time when cruelty is the only way to get through a day.
The penalty for being born into privilege is being born into privilege.
Just to add that Peterson attracts a predominantly “male”/”toxic masculinity” following that is deeply conservative, deeply phobic of gender fludity, and deeply anxious about women and sex. Some proportion of his audience, the most “hatey”, themselves have secret hidden issues around gender and sexuality. Some of them find the strength they need away from the toxicity Peterson attracts and foments. He helps these people “reclaim their life” only as people who have recovered from cancer often do. And there are much better more civilised ways of reclaiming life than succumbing to cancer, most will agree.
All these life gurus with assertive advice about how to live right and be the master of your own ship are eventually exposed as full of shit.
First time I encountered Peterson I was astounded by the postmodern approach he took to all the sciences and religion and weaving them togther arbitrarily, poeteically even… and then in the next breath choking out weird critiques of “cultural marxism” and postmodernism.
Osho was another life guru with a benzo addiction.
Maybe a rule of thumb is the more someone purports to have the answers to life’s problems for others, the less they are able to deal with their own. And then the fame they attain fooling their audience become the legitimacy.
I don’t know. I haven’t read his Rules for Rightwing Life, or his new one, Beyond Ordure. And have only watched one of his videos in full. The one where he debated Zizek became Zizek being very polite and not tackling the pretentious weirdo who hadn’t got a clue what marxism or postmodernism was, but had strong feelings about it, and also had strong feelings about people having strong feelings. So I turned that one off, more annoyed with Zizek than anything.
Life is hard. Upfront strong-man Nietzschean types are almost always weak-kneed and trembling inside. Their outward arrogance is an overcompensation. Most men do at least a bit of this in their life. It is part of the expectation of being a man.
And so, under the pressure of our own self-pressuring to be the rock of gibralter, we tend towards secret vices to deal with our inability to deal with things.
Women do too, I know… but it’s a different dynamic.
Thanks to Thomas Teo.
During Covid I’ve been struck by how often the phrase “well, they were going to die anyway” has been uttered, especially by people I’d normally hear fighting for the reverse. This in reference to the old, the diseased, in hospices, in hospitals, in residential homes, in care homes.
Everyone is going to die anyway.
In times of existential dread, there is a scramble for the lifeboat. The people that make it witness unspeakable acts of cruelty.
Take time out. Read it again, slowly. Pause after each answer to each question.
This is an excellent piece. I’ll be taking my own advice too.
Everybody Lies: “Smoking is not healthy period? It is, if you are taking antipsychotics. It reduces the negative impact of neuroleptics by up to 50%. It’s a survival mechanism.”
Well that’s the finding of a poorly designed study that gives science a bad name.
What is actually being discovered?
That stimulating the brain’s nicotinergic system clearly affects the brain’s dopaminergic system?
Or that both neuroleptic drugs and nicotine-drugs affect multiple brain systems.
How much sugar were the study particpants consuming? Aspartame? Environmental pollutants?
Generally there are no reliable ways to control these variables without quite massive studies involving millions at the very least.
So let’s just play pretend with 75 people who we’ll cherry pick with one beady eye on the desired outcome…
Everybody Lies wrote: “What makes you say coming off street drugs is easier than pharmaceuticals. You’re also saying that coming off psychiatric drugs is disastrous. Better to stay on them then? Oh, the anxiety, it’s just too much. Poor me.”
The drug most people suffer from and consistently fail to come off is processed non-nutritious sugar. It’s normalised and all-pervasive and very difficult to avoid but devastatingly dependence forming.
More than any other drug it kills, induces diseases, fucks up the brain, all the major organs, the moods, sleep, the blood, trains people to be impulsive and instant-gratification morons.
But putting aside the many drugs we do not culturally accept as drugs despite the fact they are drugs…
It is arguably easier to come off illicit drugs over and above licit drugs because there is massive societal stigmatisation of illicit drugs and large investment programmes to help people noyt just come off them but to transform their lives and I for one endorse and condone such use of resources.
If you want to for instance come off SSRIs you will to this day have a struggle to even convince people you’re hooked when in fact you are indeed hooked.
Imagine if someone trying to come off heroin was met with the same incredulity as someone wanting to get off SSRI.
“It may be the case that the “heavy cannabis use” is a coping mechanism for the “antipsychotic use”. That makes sense.”
Only half makes sense. The other half is:
It may be the case that the antipsychotic use is a coping mechanism for the heavy antipsychotic use.
There likely is a small number — a very small number — of people that use one drug to counter the effects of the other drug and that stopping one drug would result in a dependence on two drugs being resolved.
Yet as that stands true for a very tiny number of people this observation is useless for most of the people affected, most of the time.
Steve McCrea wrote: “Actually, I don’t think you get what I’m saying. I’m not suggesting that “lived experience” per se automatically gives one natural authority.”
Many of these problems raised by Sera yourself myself Dr David Cooper and Judi Chamberlin and many of the articles on Mad in America will be resolved by a human rights-based structured and implemented mental health institution.
The kind of restructuring that someone like Dr Dainius Pūras is working towards.
For example the appeals process is an existing process within the institution in which decisions can be reviewed. That process is currently weakened by the absence of a human rights focused approach. And will inevitably be strengthened by one.
Particularly as the institution will be vulnerable to new ways of litigation. Although finding a balance poses a potential nightmare as it is possible that the institution could become crippled by human rights challenges…
“There is such a thing as legitimate authority, but it’s not based on a person’s degree.”
I see discussions are continuing to go around in circles.
An authority in any hierachical institution is legitimate because they have been legitimised by the institution to be an authority, and authorised by the institution to command power.
Walk into any institution and you can attempt to cause mayhem by pointing out the arbitrariness. And miss the whole point of an institution.
This is the problem of reform. The lesson learned by Dr David Cooper.
And why eventually Judi Chamberlin came along and wrote On Our Own.
If we do not know history and learn from it we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.
If you want a libertarian non-hierachical grouping of mad people and non-mad people then your best bet I believe is to set up some custom Sims world and let it run.
After a very short amount of time you will end up with a very wooden and strange-looking simulation because in the absence of hierarchy humans can’t be human (and simulacrums can’t be simulacrums).
The whole pretence of a non-hierarchical or equal social group is pure libertarian or anarchic fantasy. Some people are more capable than others. Some people are more socially skilled or socially cunning than others and that fact alone creates tensions that lead to power imbalances.
The healthiest hierarchy is one which is regulated independently, where the fight against corruption, nepotism, cronyism and so on is ongoing, where power is accountable, and where values aren’t simply statements but actual cultural norms.
What Sera and yourself seem to be suggesting is that mental health institutions must restructure themselves in such a way that a small minority of people-with-a-personal-experience should be given more or at least equal power and this would make the institution more legitimate and the rationing of authority more credible.
Such that for instance if someone wished to take on a powerful position in a mental health institution they would progress their career by having a severe mental breakdown?
And that no-one should be in a powerful position in mental health purely on the basis of achieving a respected position in society through hard study and training?
And this would make everything more valid and legitimate?
“I don’t like to be the least powerful person in the room,” says the person in the room that allows a tiny minority into the room and excludes the vast majority of others…
There are people who are asked to comde forward over and over, the same faces over and over, and they do not represent myself or anyone I know, they represent themselves and their personal agenda.
Drs for instance are expected to be trying for neutrality and reaching for objectivity. In psychiatry they are chosen to represent a cultural narrative which satisfies the state and the judicial system and the public.
Not sure how someone-of-mental-illness-experience so to speak can be thought of as more legitimate when they will likely not satisfy the state and the judicial system and the public with a narrative appropriate to a Drs level of power.
Not convinced the the state and the judicial system and the public would be comfortable with a shifting of institional mental health setting power to people who have attained that power by having severe mental difficulties. I do not see anyone being much convinced or persuaded or reassured even by such a shifting of power in our mental health settings.
Which again Judi Chamberlin recognised decades ago, as did Dr David Cooper and others. Cooper hung up his hat on the matter, Chamberlin went full-on breakaway anarchic.
And since then all independent models of mental healths settings have been collaborative with existing conventional hierarchical settings. And those that are argued as truly independent never worked, perished quite rapidly, descended into chaos.
Thanks for clarifying, Sera. You’ve given me a number of mental jolts in a good way. Just that it’s going to take a while to think through them.
The in the meantime observation is this:
You are very much it seems to me in alignment with the revolutionary ideas of Dr David Cooper and his attempts to strip away power at Villa 21.
There are multiple accounts as always stertching the full spectrum of failure to success but for me the most telling aspect is that overall when people are in chronic or acute stress states one of the most humane things you can often do for them is to reduce the burden of decision-making.
Which is perhaps why the patients at Villa 21 conspired to reinstate power differentials because the stress of their troubles was already enough to be dealing with.
I agree with you that power differnetials are often best kept in the light and under review and discussion because these can often be the source of repeating pain and strife, especially but not only for those with histories of severe abuse.
However stark power differentials are not automatically sources of abuse and something to be eradicated.
In all groups there are orderings of leaders and followers, thinkers and doers, peacemakers and peacebreakers, loyalists and traitors and so on.
I’m perhaps not the best to comment on groups because I don’t like being in them. I don’t mix well with others, am not much of a social being even if at times I can perform a pretty convincing mimicry of one.
I would also demand that all in attendance made available full and complete access to
– all their bank records and credit files
– their entire internet history
– their complete school record
– their complete record of all encounters with law enforcement, any fines and convictions etc
– their entire phone call history and SMS history
– a summary of all their significant relationships
– a complete record of their passport history
– a complete record of their ANPR data
– their DNA profile
– their complete medical history including psychiatric history if they have one
Then we’d be equally open and good to go.
I have indeed seen Daniel Mackler’s Open Dialogue film and I have read reams of Open Dialogue texts and I can proclaim with utter sincerity that I still don’t have a clue what it is.
I have attempted discussion numerous times with Open Dialogue excitables online to ascertain what it is and have never succeeded in ascertaining what it is.
And two years ago I had the opportunity to speak one to one with someone not only trained but also working in an Open Dialogue system and they were not only unwilling to explain what it is but actually became so hostile I was readying my Jiu Jitsu in readyness, they were that wired.
What I do know is that no two people speak the same things about it and all my anxieties about ripping up the legacy of Bakhtin were and remain legitimate.
I think if you aspire to transparency and equality then a quicker and unimaginably more sincere route other than offering oneself over on first name terms would be to just hand out a resume which noted payscales and investment interests. Then take it from there,
Might also be helpful to be forthcoming about voting habits, political allegiance and private member groups.
I’d like an Open Dialogue for example in which people were transparent about Freemason membership and any affiliation whatsover with secret services.
Of course that’s where supposed openness breaks down and it’s pretty much game over exactly at the point you needed game on.
Steve McCrea wrote: “The first step toward neutralizing one’s subjectivity is to notice that it exists.”
The second step is abandoning the violence of neutralising subjectivity. You’ll permanently scar the psyche or at best leave blemishes that won’t budge.
Steve McCrea then wrote: “Those who assure you they are “objective” are usually the most dangerous of all!”
Aye, indeed. A subject claiming objectivity is a menace, no doubt.
I don’t have a problem with medical doctors insisting on calling themselves or being addressed by others as Dr.
I do have a problem with non-medical doctorate-holders insisting on being a Dr, especially in the health fields, as I consider that to be a cynical attempt at deception, rightly or wrongly, it’s how it comes across to me.
Dr Who is a non-doctor but is also non-human and non-actual so I can forgive them for the adoption of the prefix.
Dr Seuss too, likewise.
But the Dr title is so often used by people selling snake oil, by New Agers scraping the bottom of the barrel of legitimacy that restrictions on use should be imposed.
As for feeling a power imbalance with a Dr in the room. Well, that’s likely because there is one. They do have more power. They’ve been entrusted with it. Same as the classroom. There is usually at least one person in a classroom entrusted with more power. Same in a Presidency. A boardroom. A prison. The military. There are echelons, almost always for good reason.
Doctorates can be purchased online for little money from enterprising New Age colleges. Get one of them and call yourself a doctor. That will wash away naming convention anxieties. The power balance won’t be affected.
“O… I didn’t realise you were a doctor.”
“Yes, Dr. I am a Dr. Just like you.”
“Doctor of what?”
“That’s irrelevant. I’m a Dr, just like you. I’m equally powerful.”
“Doctor of what?”
“Never you mind.”
“I’d like to know. I’m a doctor of medicine and you?”
“I’m a Dr of Ancient Quantum UFO Ching.”
l_e_cox wrote: “That mileage really impresses me. 10X anything I ever do on my bicycle. Staying in good control over the body does tend to give one a “sense of achievement.”
Long-distance endurance cycling is an addiction. Make no bones about it. When I started out 12 months prior to UK’s first coronavirus lockdown I thought 100 miles in one day was an impossible goal. I got to 30 and felt so proud. Then I found the cycling community and was humbled.
Everyone has different reasons to push themselves physically, which also necessarily involves pushing yourself mentally. Your body strengthens and your mind does too. This isn’t for everyone but many people wonder what it is that is missing from their lives and end up misdirecting their energies and placing all their chips on a self-defeating addiction.
There have been blogs on here that don’t arouse much discussion or acknowledgement by people that have found the solace of endurance sport and adventuring as the answer to a gnawing pain that was slowly destroying them.
I think that more opportunities should exist in mental health systems to point people towards endurance and fitness pursuits. It won’t cure and in some ways may arrive at similar contentedness to popping pills.
But many people would do better to scale the mountain or hike the trail and so on, and look back on that, and experience that within themselves, as opposed to shortcutting with pill-pops and drug-induced accomplishments.
Quantum Theory has nothing to say about human relationships. Nothing whatsoever.
New-Agers that have bitten off more than they can chew have a lot to say about how Quantum Theory affects human relationships.
Or in other words, many people who are not Quantum Theorists have bastardised Quantum Theory to attempt to legitimise or otherwise give a sciencey veneer to their hardcore Woo.
Although the Observer does change the Observed. And the Observed changes the Observer. Personally I think this observation is more useful when applied to the effects of the surveillance state and surreptitious surveillance in general on the human psyche.
Otherwise we’d be reinventing the wheel. Transference and Countertransference is well-established. As are all the many and various attributional and confirmation biases. As are expectancy effects.
The notion of neutrality or objectivity is something aspirational, rather than attainable. It’s something to strive towards (when necessary) with at-best effort. But no-one can transcend their subjectivity. Although plenty enjoy claiming that they can and then spending much of the rest of their life dodging scrutiny.
Much history is the history of mass psychosis and what happened next. That’s the good and the bad.
All the obvious examples but I think the most egregious are often the most telling.
For instance, the grieving widow I once encountered whose husband had his skull battered by a mob who were very upset about two things: their football team had lost 1-0; and that the woman’s then husband had a scarf on that vaguely matched the colours of the opposing football team.
Wrong place, wrong time but the widow’s husband didn’t have any interest in football. He was making his way home after work. He’d gone off his usual track to detour to a florist.
Fleeting psychosis doesn’t get much press.
We don’t mass drug to prevent psychosis because, as I’m sure you know already, so much depends on mass delusion. Without delusion and self-deception, everything would fall apart.
So to glue society together we agree on acceptable delusions and deceptions.
Psychosis is non-acceptable delusion and deception. It’s only ever a situational circumstantial phenomena.
But yes absolutely the determination of psychosis is arbitrary. There’s no escaping that. How could there be?
But on the other hand the woman that mistook her infant child for firewood should not be thought of as simply eccentric.
It’s okay. I misread people too. We all do.
Just to clarify, as you never know what scoundrels are watching you and waiting to trip you up. I’m not on holiday, haven’t been on holiday. Holidays are banned in the UK. Unless you are in the Upper or Political classes. It was a 107 mile day ride. It’s a hobby I took up a while ago. Since lockdown my stamina has been steadily rising.
I think by Spring I’ll be doing 200 mile day rides.
All being good I’ll be realising my dream of hiking Yellowstone National Park, albeit riding it now I’ve knackered my Achilles.
Nothing works. But there are lots of things that can make you feel really good and give a sense of achievement.
Cycling the English Winter isn’t for everyone but for some of us it’s a wonderful natural high and a great way to meditate on life and death and encounter the ego-driven maniacs in their cars.
If you hear despair then you are falsely attributing. I am not despairing and I’m not in despair. I certainly wasn’t in despair when I write it as I’d just completed a 107 mile bicycle ride and was feeling somewhat buzzed.
You missed my overall point. A 107 mile bicycle ride or a 10 hour binge on American lager (lol!) or an argybargy meditation on argybargyness or 6 months of popping pills fixes nothing but they all bring us that little bit closer to death.
My point is probably no more vivid than before I commented. Never mind. Happy Christmas.
Any psychoactive substance is *potentially* addictive.
This to include most foodstuffs. As most foodstuffs have psychoactive effects.
Then almost anything we experience is also *potentially* addictive as anything experiential can become compulsively compelling.
This is why there is a masturbating to porn epidemic in the western world. And also why pushers of non-nutritious edibles scrape in billions of revenue every year.
The human is an addictive being. We are hardwired to attach to things over and over like hatchlings. Look at all the moronic computer gamers in their 30s 40s 50s 60s… basically still in the childhood toybox and they claim to know no better.
Addiction is a complex beast. Ask any Trump supporter…
Well the whole drug it modern culture started with Prozac manufactured by our good honest science fact-based honest reliable goodly godly homely friends Pfizer.
Pfizer of the novel vaccine for Covid.
In whom we trust.
Well of course.
Well that’s the corruption problem done and dusted…
In actuality, in all humble reasonableness:
We humans cannot be resolved. We can’t be fixed. We’re utterly broken.
Anyone that claims to be fixed well… you’d do well to measure their sensitivities and so on… but really, realistically, what’s been fixed? What’s been sorted out?
There are some things that need shifting around, some energies need shifting, redirecting, refocusing but in no way is anyone fixable. You start out broken and you end up broken. There is no way out of that banal curse.
Do drugs work?
O yes absolutely and often they do wonders. Undeniable wonders.
It’s why they remain super super popular and will go on to be.
There is no right drug for you but there are drugs that are a pretty good fit for the moment so off ye go merrily with the rest of us to death.
Some people when in psychosis tend towards mutilating or murdering or otherwise terrifying others and you consider that to be dissidence.
LOL as they say.
Then try pilsner as it works for almost everyone and has for hundreds of years.
With respect, if you re-read the article you’ll discover multiple references to alternative organisations, small and large, that suppress and cover-up and casually brush away wrong-doing. My suggestion is in relation to those specific problems.
In fact there is a hint in the article that a percentage of monies that flow to these alternative organisations should be used to tackle the problems of corruption.
And the best way to do that, in terms of transparency and justice, is for the investigation to be carried out by a truly independent body.
As sam plover points out, that independent body is also prone to corruption. That is why it must itself be independent, transparent, and reformed from top to bottom, every few years, lest it stagnates.
I have no idea how to regulate and make indivividuals responsible other than through recourse to existing Laws that offer some protection to the vulnerable.
Will Hall wrote: “Our movement needs to address its corruption problem.
So, what should we do?”
Regulation, regulation, regulation. Some kind of professional body that oversees those working in the alternative roles in mental health. People and organisations sign up to it. It strives to act as an assurance of quality and decent standards. And to become recogniseable and trusted as such.
Whisteblowers welcome. Investigations fair and proportionate. Penalties available for the worst and repeat offenders.
Unregulated professions are invariably the most corrupt.
Given the toxic environment and the toxic food-chain it is probably not wise to discount the harm being inflicted on children, including their brains.
Otherwise, this is deeply disturbing and reminds me that things could be much worse in the UK:
Girl, 6, ‘locked up’ in mental health facility for ‘throwing temper tantrum at school’
ADHD in children is basically a social means to an end. You get the diagnosis, the doors swing open to obtaining the drugs.
Intuitively most people are horrified at the thought of giving potent stimulant drugs to children. They consider the ADHD to simply be a way of pathologising and using drugs to mask a psychological and social problem.
Personally I think there is way more to it. There are lots of controversial drugs in the USA food chain, and lots of places with extreme problems of environmental pollution, that are long established as having the potential to cause congenital problems, brain damage and behavioural and developmental issues in children.
These problems cannot be address through therapy. One cannot receive psychotherapy for being poisoned, by lead or other heavy metals. One cannot receive therapy for the problems stemming from ingesting hormones, and pesticides and so on, that penetrate the blood-brain barrier, and wreak havoc.
So, unless the bigger picture is addressed, everyone is going to be chasing their own tail, some going clockwise, some going anticlockwise, and barking at one another to change direction.
It was pointed out to me that if no-one had a child for 50 years there would be no-one viable left to have a child, and so the last checkout would begin. Fair point.
The need to bring new people into the world may increase during times of existential dread. It’s probably biological and thus to be expected. These days Africa is well-fed yet undernourished in many countries. So the kids have stunted growth and impaired intellectual development. Meanwhile millions of tonnes of nutritious African food-stuffs are exported, and billions of dollars of African wealth shared out amongst the major banks and investment companies, who use the cash to fund lavish lifestyles, cocaine habits, and to fund some half-hearted ethical start-ups that appear and fade faster than the average persons’ western conscience gets troubled by global corruption.
The Eugenicists are back making dark claims about genetic determinism. It’s the same-old same-old self-serving shite that blames the poor for poverty and all the trappings that come with it.
I despise and adore this planet and this existence and all people on it in equal measure. There is a man that walks around London pontificating with his megaphone and in recent weeks he’s joined the call advocating for human extinction. He encourages passersby to contemplate suing their parents for emotional damages for bringing them into this world, without choice or consiseration, reuslting in all their misery, woes, struggles, heart-ache, and the final kick in the teeth: having to come to terms with death.
It’s not like people haven’t spread these messages before. Obviously with the apocalypse getting ever nearer, the siren calls grow ever louder.
We are probably in a simulation inside a simulation inside a simulation, ad infinitum. If so, where are the cheat codes? How do I hack this nightmare into something less horrific without recourse to drugs and/or alcohol?
I have no idea whatsoever, sam plover, continually.
6% is very low, if it’s a figure from a population of people taking stimulant ADHD drugs. That’s 6 in 100.
“Population-based surveys show that the prevalence of psychotic symptoms may be far greater than had been previously considered, with a meta-analysis suggesting a prevalence rate of 5%–8% in the general population (which is nearly 10 times higher than the prevalence of diagnosed psychotic disorders). Prevalence rates of such symptoms may be even higher among young people. In 2000, Poulton and colleagues reported that 14% of 11-year-old children endorsed psychotic symptoms upon interview and showed that these symptoms were associated with a 5-fold to 16-fold increased rate of psychotic illness in early adulthood (depending on the strength of the initial symptoms). Since then, large, population-based studies surveying psychotic symptoms among adolescents have found rates of 9%–14% in interview-based studies and rates greater than 25% in some studies using self-report questionnaires. Positive answers on self-report questionnaires have been validated on clinical interview. This emerging body of research suggests that a sizable minority of young people experience psychotic symptoms.”
So 6% is a lower incidence of psychosis than many other studies were finding in general and youngster populations.
If that 6% statistic has any basis in reality, then it might even suggest that stimulant drugs in childhood to some degree *protect against* psychosis, utterly contradicting my and others’ idle musings.
At the very least 6% suggests only that the rates of psychosis are consistent with what is commonly found, even in the absence of stimulant drugs prescribed to children.
Psychotic Disorders in Children and Adolescents: A Primer on Contemporary Evaluation and Management
There is far more psychosis being experienced than people diagnosed with psychotic illnesses because more people find ways of coping, hiding, enduring or capitalising on their psychoses than those who succumb to their experiences and end up in psychiatric care, or prison, or Death.
The Hearing Voices Network has exposed how so many people of seemingly ordinary lives are sometimes experiencing extraordinary things and that it is not necessary to panic over each and every one of them.
The moral dilemma is then should humanity seek to erase all psychotic experiences from the lives of children and adults?
Are psychotic experiences somehow a necessary aspect of human experience?
Is psychosis a dirty stain on humanity that must be cleansed?
So let me correct you, if I may:
oldhead should have wrote: “I sure don’t identify as disabled, other than when I do.”
Not just spouts. Cabbage, broccoli and turnips too. Just don’t boil them. To do so is to torture and kill all the goodies they offer. Steaming is best.
Lifestyle choices are obviously going to be good for the body, the brain, general wellbeing. A lot of these excellent choices then get knocked out by polluted air and alcohol, but best try and run on a full tank in a polluted, dirty world, I reckon.
I wonder what effects all the plastic particulates are having on our bodies and brains? The brassicas will be full of them.
Thanks for the link. She talks too fast for me. But Youtube allows you to slow down or speed people up in the settings.
There is no such thing as a “real world”.
sam plover wrote “What collective absolute for distinguishing illness from non illness?>
What do we call it when a collective noun causes abuses, control, lack of medical care, no rights left.
We have as to date no studies done on shrinks that when removed from their jobs as shrinks, say over a ten year study of all shrinks (with no money in their accounts)
How they function. What jobs they choose.
Let us all be okay with psychiatry and the abuse, lies.
But alongside of “schizophrenia”, let us list the lack of medical care that non criminals get, the clout and validity in court that non criminals receive.
Let us be truthful that it is now a UN issue. To have an illness that presents “problems in thinking”, the onus to prove that it presents an inability to think logically or act logically in every single area, that onus is on who? How do we prove that?
And so, if it is down to the word of a shrink, it is very obviously not proof.
I see Britney Spears has few rights, or no rights, but she does not have schizophrenia.
I also wonder why every man and his dog uses these words of illnesses to prove MI exists? It is the public bait word. “Anxiety” seems so average.”
I believe that the study of language is worthwhile. And that such a study would settle a lot of these questions that you’re asking.
Reading you I *feel* as best I can your anger about these issues concerning words and language and how words can oppress and abuse and hurt and trap.
In terms of proving sanity or madness that’s only ever going to be a social and cultural set of problems, arbitrary decisions, and paradoxes.
One way out of that is to accept that we are all of us broken, individually and collectively. And that humans are fundamentally self-deceived and self-deluded. Almost all that we hold as true and constant and reliable is anything but… however, we hold fast to our many delusions and deceptions, and if we didn’t, it’d be the worst nightmare you could ever imagine.
I;ll close by confessing that I have no emotional or intellectual interest in Britney Spears. Every time her name is mentioned an infamous paparazzi image of her comes to mind and it wouldn’t be right to go about describing it but that ultimately is what she is to me. Although of course she is a human being, and I hope she has people in her life that love her and protect her and remind her to check herself before climbing out of the back seat of a limo.
sam plover asked, “What is the collective noun for drugs?”
That’s a tricky one because drugs is the collective noun for more than one kind of drug. Or drugs could be the plural for a singular noun.
Bradford wrote: “Sitting in a tub of bleach and scrubbing your skin off is an inherently illogical and irrational act. It can’t be understood logically and rationally. It can only be understood illogically and irrationally….”
Now that there is some distance between myself and the previous self that performed that act, I can tell you with utmost sincerity that my insight at the time was perfectly logical and rational and very many people who’d followed a similar course that led up to that point would have done much the same, or worse. I’ve only ever encountered one similar narrative and that person chose to douse themselves in a flammable liquid, set themselves alight, and then quickly attempt to extinguish the flames. The insight they were working under was also, contextually, logical and rational.
What was lacking was insight into impaired insight,
It can often require a third party to perform that function. To assess whether someone has logically and rationally arrived at mentally healthy insight, or has in fact, an impaired mind, or as some perfer to call it, a mental illness.
At the same time as such things were going on in my life I was submitting literary analyses that were praised.
So it’s not like I had taken leave of all my faculties of reason or comprehension.
Try and think of schizophrenia as a collective noun for unknown problems in human thinking, behaviour, experiencing, perceiving and interacting.
Also, dragons aren’t real.
Nonstandard_Nolan wrote: “Lack of insight? I could almost laugh at the notion. How many human beings, mentally ill or otherwise, have that kind of insight? Very very few. To label a person schizophrenic because of that would seem beyond foolish to me.”
I could give many personal examples. It’s not something I’m i the habit of doing so just this once I’ll choose one and then we’re done with it.
I had become convinced that my body had been infiltrated by undetectable supernatural parasites. Or they may have been alien life-forms. I was undecided. Time went by and I ran a bath and half filled it with bleach and topped that up with hot water and I sat in it and I scrubbed off much of the outer layer of my skin.
That, to me, was a lack of insight. Which really means that the intense insight I had, and the actions spurred on by those erroneous inisghts, were clearly a lack of insight into the fact my insight had become severely impaired.
Robert Whitaker wrote: “As is well known, antipsychotics and other psychiatric drugs change the brain. They perturb neurotransmitter systems, and in response, the brain goes through a series of compensatory adaptations in an effort to maintain a “homeostatic equilibrium.” At the end of this process, former NIMH director Stephen Hyman wrote in a 1996 paper, the brain is operating in a manner that is “qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from the normal state.”
For instance, antipsychotics block D2 receptors. In response, the brain increases the density of its D2 receptors. Thus, anyone who is exposed to an antipsychotic for any length of time will have this unusually high density of D2 receptors, and this is just one of the many changes that will be induced by years of exposure to antipsychotics and other psychiatric drugs.
As a result of this drug exposure, lumateperone was not being tested in “people with schizophrenia,” as though their brains were now in their original “disease” state. The drug was being tested in people whose brains had been dramatically remodeled by their years of exposure to antipsychotics and other psychiatric drugs, and if the patients in this study shared any common physiology, it was the abnormalities—such as an increase in D2 receptors—induced by exposure to the drugs.
Everyone knows this. Yet this scientific elephant in the room is never discussed. Instead, the pretense is that a drug-washout design removes the effect of this prior drug use, and returns the study participants to a pristine “schizophrenia” physiology. This allows for claims that a drug has been tested for a “disease,” even though it is in fact being tested in a population of patients whose brains are “abnormal” because of their years of exposure to the drugs.”
That’s the bit when a lot of minds spontaneously shut-down. I struggled for a long time trying to understand why that happens, so persistently, so predictably, especially in otherwise very intelligent, lucid and principled people. I knew it had to be something vaguely about self-deception. Herbert Fingarette’s meditations are helping, gradually.
Thanks for this. It exposes the game in all its corrupt splendour.
Hi Sarah. Reach out to me.
Broken minds, broken hearts
broken faces, broken art
broken trust, broken dreams
broken roads, broken streams
broken rivers, broken trees
broken kingdoms of birds and fish and bees
broken chains, broken and lost and freed
broken hopes, broken faiths
broken leaders, broken graith
broken families, broken homes
broken children, broken moms
broken fathers, broken roles
broken windows, broken souls
broken chains, broken and lost and freed
broken connections, broken spines
broken commitments, broken times
broken sex, broken love
broken feelings, broken wings of the dove
broken Laws, broken Wars
brokenness the theme connecting it all
broken chains, broken and lost and freed
you are broken, and I am too
we are broken and theres nothing we can do
we deny, we decry, we avoid and castigate
we hide away from the brokenness thats innate
broken concepts, broken mirrors
broken heroes, broken fiends
universal brokenness is the connecting theme
broken days, broken nights
broken kindness, broken spite
broken zeal, broken gruel
broken chains that relinquish the fool
broken dreamers, broken visions
broken thinkers, think broken thoughts
broken revolutionaries wanna break whats broke
broken conservative wanna keep whats broke
but broken people, through and though,
what can they gain but to break it all anew
my broken heart, your broken ego
my broken life, your broken boasts
my broken smallness, your broken illusions of grandeur
my broken happiness and your broken self-assured
nothing left, but broken smiles
no where to go under broken skies
broken air breathed in broken lungs
broken food chain, broken gums
all is broken, it’s there to see
any claim to being unbroken is broken’s epitome!
Al Galves wrote: “To equate what goes on in the mind or soul (I see them as synonyms) with “neurological events” is a huge mistake […] we have no idea […] about the relationship between the brain and the mind.”
It’s interesting that you consider the terms mind and soul as synonyms. Some do, many don’t. My approach is that if you are referring to something non-supernatural you’d do well to dispense with the supernatural language. Puts a lot of confusion to bed.
Besides, you’re overstating the progress of knowledge, or lack of it. We know that there is a generative relationship between the brain and what we come to experience as a mind. Many of the seeming functions of the mind are known to be localised in the brain. When there are damages to the brain those localised functions will diminish or disappear. I agree that we’re not yet at the point where we can confidently, accurately treat the brain to heal the mind. Besides, many of the ailments of a mind are social experiences.
Club hammers have long been favoured by humans seeking something curative to bang against their skulls and these tried and tested methods of overcomingness continue to prove overall popular and seemingly usefulizing. Alcohol has long been the number one club hammer in the toolkit, and pharmacologists, in their zeal for new club hammers, have gifted and cursed the human race with many more.
Are club hammers better than talking to someone trusted and full of wonderful lifestyle thought-space thinky-dinky ideas?
Sometimes yes, club hammers are best. Without a doubt.
“To think that studying the brain or neurology will help people live their lives in satisfying ways is to labor under the yolk of scientism – an exaggerated faith in the efficacy of the methods of natural science to understand social and psychological phenomena, solve pressing human problems and provide a comprehensive, unified understanding of the meaning of the cosmos.”
At no point have I implied that neurology is able to solve peoples’ day-to-day problems.
Psychotherpy was at its most honest in its earliest days. Then it was unabashed about using hypnotism and suggestive persuasion techniques to bring about supposed “change” in its clients. Most clients would be struck by short-termist intangibility, and, in their subtle foggy confusion, and subtle buzzy aliveness, would keep going back for more. Every profession desires a clientelle that attains the imperceptible, indescribable need for more.
Hypnotism by the by is a very short-term outcome. Uncanny that hypnotism, very often, even when institituted by an experienced hypnotist, very often ends in the hypnotist also succumbing to hypnotism, and that they too need the client to top-up their hypnotic states. Mutuality or, in extremis, shared psychosis.
There appears to be no substantive evidence that psychotherapy is transforming the world. This, despite the world never having been counselled as much as it is now. There is more psychotherapy dished out now than at any other point in human history. And what a sorry state of being the world of humanity is in. What a sorry state indeed.
Now do I discount personal testimony? I am terrified by personal testimony about anything. The intensity of cognitive biases contained in such witness statements can seriously threaten my equanimity, if I haven’t taken all necessary precautions prior to the encounter.
I wish you a variably emotioned New Year, and fingers crossed you are still alive by the end of it.
I wrote: “Everyone is broken and without soul.”
Alex wrote: “To me that implies suffering, that’s the feeling I get from reading this statement. So do you think we’re doomed? Or is there anything at all that can bring hope for making this world a better place in which to live, so that people don’t go around feeling “broken,” but instead, inspired and motivated to create a more appealing, safe, and supportive social and world environment?”
Human brokenness isn’t a feeling. It’s an individual and collective state of being. Not sure how anyone sincere about making the world a better place can do so without coming to terms with individual and collective human brokenness. Maybe that’s not entirely honest of me. I probably do know how people go forwards with such conceits with seemingly little awareness of how they are adding to the problem.
Without coming clean about individual and collective human brokenness, the very inspirations you evoke to “create a more appealing, safe, and supportive social and world environment” cannot and will not be attained. Denying universal human brokenness is to leave much of the problem hidden and obscured, adumbrated.
It’s no use starting out on any project of global enhancement heavily laden with denial and self-delusion. The world is a big place, comprised of small places, and there are local quirks that conflict and contradict. In some places actions to a better world would be felt locally as oppressive and denying, and in other places those self-same actions towards a better world would be intuited as helpful, locally.
You asked, “Do you think we’re doomed?” and that *feels* like a loaded question, playing on the idea that you are the holder of positivity and I am the holder of negativity, when in fact such energies ebb and flow in everyone.
Do I think we are doomed? You and I are doomed. I suspect you know that we each will die and that that will be the end of it and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Is the human race doomed? My answer to that is contained in my comments about human brokenness.
I wish you a variably emotioned New Year, and fingers crossed you are still alive by the end of it. At the end of each year I appreciate how I’ve yet again managed to overstay my welcome on this sorry, despicable, beautiful planet, and I somehow sneak through into another year under the cover of darkness and the rubbernecking of fireworks, which shower down toxic chemicals on those gawping, broken people beneath them.
Belated Happy Birthday.
And Happy Chistmas.
Almost every human being reincarnates as a pig, a sheep, a cow or a chicken. This has long been known by people that have written similar sentences in other languages.
Thankfully most are reborn into intense modern meat farming factories and they aren’t so very long in the torment, despite the despicable end.
Everyone is broken and without soul. Spontaneous erotic dancing amongst strangers would definitely help many a lost one, I have no doubt. No doubt at all.
Not drawn to the woo, despite unending woo-ness, dreamy disparate non-cohering. Yes, there’s considerable literature, self-proclaimers and entertainers purporting to elucidate the absurdo-wooniverse. Deepens the absurdity.
All accusations of pseudoscience aimed at modern psychiatry can equally be aimed at New Age dreamy dogma and I see no merit in swapping out pseudoscience for pseudo-woo-ness.
People do have the basic right to decide which false claims are made about their experiences. If they haven’t broken any law. No-one must impose their woo upon the woo-able. May the people of the woo be free to wish-think their woo as they choose. And may the people of the non-woo remain wholly unwooed.
To ensure against succumbing to the debasing wonderment of tormenting wooness AKA psychosis, I re-read and read again about cognitive biases and delusions of reference and traumatic brain injuries in children and its deleterious impact on cognitive development and kite-high functioning. Such reminders hold the doctors and the injectors and the cops and the magistrates and the petty beaurocrats and the woo-wand wielding wizards at bay. Yet the hex persists. The woo goes on. It’s an old song.
Al Galves wrote: “By the way, I recommend Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore.”
An interesting book but I do think he overly recommends the use of WD40.
Greek etymologies are problematic.
All ancient Greek concepts, of things like healing, and soul and suchlike, are a world apart from what we think they mean. It takes a tremendous effort and self-sacrifice to even begin to try and understand these ancient concepts. And no matter, the best you could hope for is a respected scholarly opinion, and by no means finality.
In its earliest times psychotherapy was unashamedly the practice of change through hypnotism. All hypnotism is self-hypnotism so those astute at deceiving themselves could boast longlasting results. Most couldn’t, and would require regular assisted top-ups. And so the birth of a new profession.
There is no such thing as a soul. Taking care of the soul is thus a dreadfully mistaken pursuit or claim to make about one’s uses of hypnotic techniques including the power of suggestion and persuasion. Via the very real brain-based human super-power humbly known as the imagination.
Psychotherapy as a hypnotic-suggestive engagement with the brain’s power of imagination is so much more realistic and honest and not a need for a soul within sniffing distance. Not that anyone up to this point in mostly cringeworthy human history has so much as snatched the merest whiff of a soul…
There is nothing fundamentally different between the concept of a soul in sickness and a brain made ill through chemical imbalance. Both are deceptively simplyfying narratives for unimaginably more complex neurological events. Of which we know so little it is dreadful to mention it. So what we do is, we pump it full of air, and give it fancy names and if we hold on tight enough and generate enough wind we can up-up-and-away with the best of them.
The great thing about souls is that they do not exist, no-one has one, no-one has ever gained one, or lost one, and no-one has ever observed one, and no-one has ever made any meaningful sensible description of what a soul even is. This makes it a very useful term for people of a particular delusion to court the attention and trust of others, that quite enjoy the idea of having a soul, but fall to pieces as soon as they are asked to give some indication of what it is they are so stricken by.
“It’s, like… a blinding white light that kinda clenches in my heart and-” “Please stop. That’s more than enough.”
Of course (well, of course!) in the real world I’d get a smack in the face, or worse, for saying this by someone who believed they had a soul, or even someone standing up for the right of others to have something imaginary that other people must not question. Soul, for some, is no more than a synonym for rock-and-roll, or the effect rock music has on them when they look at themselves in dimly lit mirrors, or for being flooded with natural highs, such as dopamine, adrenalin, and opioids.
Soul for many people simply means, not dead yet.
I write all this to indicate that a beautiful, interesting thing about psychotherapy is that it is in deep need of psychotherapy. I suppose once psychotherapy has successfully completed its healing journey, it might then be ready to take on the befuddled generations. Or perhaps it would simply vanish. And be replaced by things like The Wise OK Boomer in the Village… The Classic unread Novel serialised by Netflix… carefully selected and edited Proverbs quotes inside Greetings Cards… and friendship unsullied in any way shape or form by technology.
That last one made me laugh.
Bradford wrote: “It was 10 years earlier. The FIRST people the Nazis put in the camps were the disabled, and so-called “mentally ill”. That started in 1933…”
I question the veracity of this comment.
It is true that the killing of mental patients in mostly mental institutions pre-dated the killing of others by Nazis, but it’s important to remember that this killing had gotten underway before even the formulation of the Nazi Party.
The concentration camps began popping up in 1933. The first 3 were Dachau, Oranienburg and Lichtenberg. All three were populated first with political prisoners.
Every time I get an intolerable headache I reach for paracetamol. That’s a psychoactive drug. And in most contexts it’s a medicine.
Any psychoactive drug which is taken for medicinal purposes is a medicine.
I think it must be the intent that matters. So any drug taken with the aim to be medicinal, is a medicine.
There are of course official and nonofficial medicines. But that is another matter.
Steve McCrea wrote: “It sounds like you are defining “mental illness” as any condition that results in people behaving in dangerous or destructive ways. Do you really see these behaviors as “illnesses” in the medical sense?”
When I use the term mental illness I do so in the awareness that it is a metaphor. That metaphor in general use encompasses all the unknown diseases, syndromes, damages and congenital malformations to and of the human brain.
Unlike others I don’t have an ongoing neurosis about the term mental illness. I see it as a metaphorical holding pen for all that is currently unknown or tentatively understood about the human brain going wrong in some way or other.
I think the sensible — although very frightening and unnerving and difficult — probability is that something is physiologically wrong (or to coin the technical term, cock-a-hoop) with someone that goes on a spree killing, yes. There are numerous known physiological causes that can give rise to such wanton violence. We don’t know them all. We may never know them all. And it’s not a routine matter to dissect and closely examine the brains of these murderous lunatics. It should be a routine matter, but it isn’t. On here that physiological cause is often attributed to antidepressants. That’s overstated, but nonetheless a perhaps plausible very minor addition to the very long list of already known possible physiological factors.
Everything we do think feel say decide and so on has a physiological factor.
I do not much like the majority of human beings, if I get to know them. So the trick is to not get to know them, in order that I can go on liking them, and interacting with them. Deep down, most people operate under that mischief. It takes a narcissism of tremendous achievement to get to the point of holding a gun and deciding on a slaughter of the innocents. To seek out that kind of narcissistic resolution to one’s natural and largely repressed misanthropy takes a tremendously cock-a-hooped brain and central nervous system and gastrointestinal system. To witness such an event is to witness a human machine gone awry. It’s a breakdown event. A malfunction event.
To see it any other way, to me, lacks a sense of proportion or basic humanity. People behave like this because something has gone seriously wrong with their bodies, and thus their being. They are, again to coin the technical term, tapped in the head. In that “tapped” process they will often seek out justifying grand narratives, something big and extreme and loathsome and dangerous. Yet often, too, they won’t, and be self-justified by nothing more than I-don’t-like-Mondays.
Brains go wrong. The brain is the most complex known organ. It goes wrong in so many ways and in doing so can give rise to breathtaking horrors.
A sphincter is a much less complex bodily mechanism. It also goes wrong, and it also can give rise to breathtaking horrors.
Why do people here so easily accept that the sphincter goes wrong but struggle so much with the notion of a malfunctioning brain?
Most mass shooters either kill themselves or get killed at the end of their insanely narcissitic horror operas. When they don’t, we find a mentally ill person. Or, more often, someone we would perhaps deem to be personality disordered.
It is not considered fair game to denote someone as mentally ill or personality disordered because of their political ideologies. That to me is a categorical failing.
The problem then for people like Trump, is that they would fall foul of my liberalising of the DSM. In fact, there are very few politicians that wouldn’t. And then almost everyone would fall foul of my liberalising at some point in their lives. At many points in their lives.
On the one hand we say that there is no such thing as mental illness. People have problems and they need help getting over them.
And then on the other hand we turn a blind eye to religious and political extremists. We insist that holding certain political and religious views are protected, and effectively healthy and okay.
The world is a gulag populated by the mostly insane.
Perhaps there is some truth in the fact that the aliens have a vested interest in keeping humans on this prison planet. We’d cause mayhem elsewhere.
I think all mass shootings are connected to mental illness. All mass murder. In fact all hate and killing arises from mental illness.
It’s just that polite society is not willing to denote hate as illness. Whereas personally I believe hate to be a very intensely ill state of mind.
I also believe that all extremist thinking is a form of mental illness. Including fascistic thinking. Or its preferred new term, alt right. The alt right movement is replete with mentally ill thinking.
I also consider neoliberalism as mentally ill.
For me, the DSM is just as problematic for what it discludes, as what it includes.
“[Rufus May] Advises distressed “schizophrenics” to go out for a walk!”
And those stressed out by constant walking and roaming are advised to go indoors.
So really, we should all be mindful about when we go outdoors and when we remain indoors. And we should, as much as possible, allow life to flow through us, and our thoughts also to flow through us. Because there are only thoughts and impressions. And they flow through us. Or seem to. Given that our being is a sophisticated illusion.
These days most people go out through staying indoors, and experiencing outdoors through screens, in which they explore new worlds. When outdoors they lose themselves in portable screens that enable them to maintain indoors attachments.
Strictly speaking indoors and outdoors are eaxctly the same thing. Much like up and down. And dead and alive. Nothing whatsoever is fundamentally altered, other than perception.
The best discoevered place to get away form it all is likely the moon. It would be interesting to float off the planet one day and venture off aimlessly in a random direction.
Having a mind is burdensome, tiresome. This is why we invented the written word. It’s superior to actual consciousness, which, by the by, is a complete mess.
I don’t understand the logical flow of this thesis. No, I understand it. I simply don’t see how its premises follow from one another.
In a nutshell, humans evolved mechanisms to cope with stressful life-threatening situations, to increase the odds of surviving them.
The costs of surviving these life-threatening situations was early death and more disease. And not just for them, but for generations
of ancestors that followed.
Thus, trauma built up in successive generations, bringing huge burdens of disease and life-shortening physical and mental problems.
Which is a retelling of the Original Sin narrative. Only now it’s the Original Trauma.
This thesis is suggesting that it is detrimental to many iterations/generations of the human genome to survive a life-threatening trauma. In fact it is tantamount to an act of malice to survive life-threatening trauma. Because human bodies have evolved to survive trauma and then punish it.
Just as some others consider humans to be created to sin and then get punished for sinning.
Only a therapist can atone you of your ancestors’ sins of surviving attacks by sabre-tooth tigers and non homo hominids. They do this via renewed (newly made-up) shamanic techniques that helped our ancestors see the value of not aspiring to a long-life and greeting Death with open, non-traumatised arms. To save many future generations from lifelong suffering.
Only those that can afford weekly sessions of open bullshitting with a credentialed psychotherapist can atone for their ancestors sins. On average this takes about $50,000 per person, per sabre-tooth tiger attack.
I’m not in the least surprised that you can share this example of you helping someone to recover their life and being a major source of help, support and encouragement. As you have hinted previously, you’re the kind of person that struggles with turning your back on people and isn’t averse to getting your hands dirty. You would self-sacrifice without need for trumpet-blowing, social boasting, vested interest, monetary compensation, and so on. You do it because you are at heart a kind person that finds personal meaning in helping others.
However, you weren’t all in with the guy as an antipsychiatrist. And you assume from personal bias that he’s always going to be better off abstaining from antipsychotics, when in fact, for some people, the enforced goal of abstention is an unnecessary cruelty that rides roughshod over their needs in order to make a fantasy triumphal gallop into the sunset of ideology.
What I have come to understand is that for people suffering severe and enduring difficulties, formalised systems of care and support best work in alliances with those in close, caring and supportive relationships with the sufferers. What I think we’re lacking in the West is the encouragement and support and promotion of befriending/adoption kinds of relationships, in which people who have no-one in their life willing or able to stand in and take on responsibility for them, are not denied, cast out, failed, but helped by those that profess to know better, that demand more humanity, that scream loudly about how they were once hard done by, and that these people, once they have attained a state of forgiveness, can work in alliance with professionals, so that others can acheive what they feel was once denied to them.
I believe lots of people are standing idle on this, and have got themselves trapped in echo chambers in which they are all waiting for someone else to make a move. When really all it takes is one person of conviction to be open to one other person that is suffering. In other words, just one person at a time. It’s not like there aren’t enough people available to do this. There is in fact a massive surplus, and large numbers of antipsychiatrists (and others with less redical views) with spare rooms, sofas, and sufficient resources to get by, maybe scrape by, but surely the focus is on human needs and human kindness?
I agree it can be done and it is done, the world over. Only we don’t get to hear much from these people doing it.
Also, to clarify, I don’t personally think it is possible or even sensible to propose or attempt to help anyone with severe mental illness and not have legal protections, and input from professionals of all colours and approaches, as part of a network of care and support and perspectives and in some cases, safeguarding. Maybe it is possible for some people, and if it is, for some people to be helped entirely without input from conventional systems… but I think when supportive systems are available,a nd working well, person and needs focused, that is the best way, centrainly for those people considered to be the most complex and the most in need.
Ekaterina Netchitailova wrote: “[…]radical change can only come from within and from outside together, including medical profession, psychologists, survivors, and peer workers. For instance, the stance of the Ministry of Health in Belgium in rejecting the system of diagnoses, is a step in this direction, in some countries, in some places.”
Belgium aren’t proposing to reject the DSM system of diagnoses. What they are reforming is the over-reliance on formal diagnosis, and also thus overdiagnosing, and moving from the old way of doing things (categorical diagnoses) to dimensional approaches (biopsychosocial psychiatry). So instead of symptoms, it’s rating scales. And the plotting of those scales over time. So, in some ways, more numbers and less words.
Most NHS mental health systems in the UK have been incorporating dimensional approaches too, for some time. For instance, formulation is now a common approach to people’s assessments. Instead of focusing on symptoms, and presentations, it’s about taking a more broad view of someone;s life history and current and potential future problems, and plotting a biopsychosocial path to recovery. So at the heart of most peoples care planning will be a recovery-focused package of care, rather than something entirely symptom-focused.
This to avoid overdiagnosis, stigma, pessimism, and wasted resources that don’t help people recover. But they will go on with diagnosing the core group of severely mentally ill, just as before. Only those with milder symptoms will not fall foul of labeling, if only because categorical approaches pretty much demand diagnoses in order to provide care, and dimensional approaches don’t.
I agree that this is a good development across European healthcare. It will mean a lot of people avoiding stimga from unnecessary diagnosing. And better use of resources. But it will not spell the end of diagnosing DSM illnesses in Belgium.
What I propose is to take up the gauntlet thrown by PacificDawn.
I think you should do what everyone on here should do. Put your money where your mouth is, and take on a person society has deemed severely mentally ill. Kind of adopt them. Bring them into your life and apply your insights. Relinquish them. Free them. No calling the cops. No calling them nasty names. No labelling them with derogatory terms. No violence. No mindgames. No reacting to provocations. No turning your back. Stick by them. Guide them. Tolerate them. Demonstrate in the real world why there is no need for psychiatry, for mental health laws, for commitment, for hospitals, for drugs, for risk assessments, for disability status.
Demonstrate in action why a severely mentally ill person (ie on here, a fiction) is better off with you than existing systems of support and/or curtailment.
No institutionalising. So no Soteria. No team-work, no shift work. So no professionalising. No drugging. So no violence. No compulsion. No safeguarding. So no taboo about harm to self and others. Including you.
Then, after say, 12 months. Tell the world how it went.
For every hour spent tapping repetitive condemntations of existing systems is an hour wasted in helping someone in the real world and putting your convictions into action.
Just to add I’ve witnessed big talkers attempting to do this, a number of times. Each and every one of them behaved like despots as soon as things got tough. But not you. Not anyone here. You are different. You know better. I know this, because most days you’re telling the world that you know better.
So demonstrate it. If anyone here did this just once, I’d be more inclined to consider them sincere. Which is only fair of me, all told.
Because the biggest problem lies in the expectation that people have that those in peril and disarray will be helped by others. That they are sympathetic to the plight of the mentally ill but only in abstraction, as an idea, always many ways removed from the actual person. That is must always be someone elses’ problem. And that they know better but never so well as to become intimately involved themselves. The problem of the critic is that they are non-creative. They don’t wish to get their hands dirty. But they know an awful lot about how others should go about getting their hands dirty. What we’re talking about here are human beings, that need other human beings. That need help and recognition. And that if mental illness doesn’t exist, then perhaps the bigger problem is that basic human care and self-sacrifice to others is itself diminishing. Wishing mental illness away doesn’t help anyone. It’s not the best metaphor ever conceived but so far it’s the only one that actually brings support and sympathy to people.
Where is the support and sympathy happening amongst the people here?
Who is actually caring and self-sacrificing and demonstrating that their claims have any validity outside of text and talking?
A minority, from what I can gather. And no-one so far as I can see you’d deem antipsychiatry seems to be doing much for the severely mentally ill at all. Unless I am wrong?
The people who most demonize the severely mentally ill, moreso than anyone else, are the severely mentally ill who commit monstrous crimes. These are the people from whom all stigma spews forth.
The problem then is one of predictive accuracy. Who else amongst this group is going to be the next to commit horrific acts of crime against the innocent?
It the the public, by and large, who pressure their elected members, and their police forces, and their systems of Law, to “do something about it.”
And so, to win votes, to be seen to be serving the public, and for justice to be seen to done, it is psychiatrists and mental health systems that are the last in line of pass the buck. Families generally pass the buck on to them too. Lovers, husbands, wives, daughters, friends, colleagues, neighbours… everyone passes the buck over to psychiatrists and the mental health system.
Because when push come to shove, hardly anyone is willing or equipped to take on the challenge of the severely mentally ill. It is a significant, life-changing, restrictive, challenging and potentially dangerous choice to make, to help someone severely mentally ill, without the resources and legal protections of a governmentally-sanctioned system.
So the buck is passed until finally it’s a psychiatri team. And our severely mentally ill person in front of them. And there’s maybe a history of violence. Delusions involving threats or plans of violence. And a clock that just won’t stop ticking. The very clock that everyone passed along with the buck.
Now, you sort that out. Break free of whining in the text box and get out into the real world and sort that out.
If you don’t gain lucidity from 50mg+ of Seroquel, then you were lucid already, and the effect of too much light is the same as too little.
Or, there wasn’t much going on in your head prior to taking the drug. And then it’s like comparing one square meter of desert to another square meter of desert.
Thanks for putting me on to this writer. He writes well and is interesting. Having scanned his blog I found a lot I align with, particularly his take on social control which is like my take, with a few extra baubles.
Not sure why I wrote this and posted it. No-one asked me what I thought about this writer and I wouldn’t expect anyone would want to know either.
In fact I question why I write anything online in comment boxes. It’s a dirty habit?
Lots of solid research in psychology which demonstrates why pushing a negative has the opposite consequence. So you say to someone, “Do not think about an elephant.” And then all they can think about is an elephant.
Likewise with pushing the above hashtag. All it achieves is people thinking about dangerousness, way more than they previously were likely to.
And humans are a dangerous species. We are given to all kinds of violence, in all kinds of ways, most of which is subtle and concealed.
So to claim non-dangerousness is quite a claim. I’d like to see some qualifying evidence from someone making this claim. Of course, they won’t be able to supply any evidence to substantiate the claim. And if I demanded it they’d resort to some form of subtle violence. That’s pretty much guaranteed.
An additional dilemma: do dangerous people always know that they are dangerous, and how likely are they to self-identify to others as dangerous?
Surely a dangerous person would be more likely to self-identify as non-dangerous than an actual non-dangerous person?
In a very rudimentary social psychology sense, identifying oneself to the group as non-dangerous is likely to instill suspicion in the group. It may also act as a driver of bias, effectively ensuring that the group perceives dangerousness in the person claiming to be non-dangerous.
All humans are potentially dangerous. All relationships and social settings are fraught with danger.
You are potentially dangerous. I am potentially dangerous. Let’s trust Life and take some risks!
“Recovery is not a bridge we cross and never return to. Rather, it is more like fording a stream by side-stepping on different stones. Not all of the stones are as sturdy as some of the others. Yes, we slip at times, only to regain our footing and forge ahead.”
Then why — O why O why O why O why O why O why — use this word “recovery” and not simply say, “life”. Life is full of ups and downs. We get knocked down, we get up again. Then, we die. We get knocked down, we stay knocked down. We learn to appreciate the dirt. Dirt is good. Dirt is life. We get knocked down, then we get knocked down, again and again, over and over and over. Until finally there is no distinguishing between our lives and the shitty earth’s shitty firmament of decayed shit and decaying shit-filth. We get knocked down, and we learn that it’s a bottomless pit. O the beauty of the bottomless pit! On our ever-nearing return to the shit from whence we came we pass lots of smiley no-can-do’s, they bother us as they float upwards, ever upwards. We try telling them… all that up there, it’s all *ill*usions whose only purpose is to delay the downward drop, which, given time, is where we’re all headed, every one of us, for all of time. The smiley-narkeys never stay long enough, except to nark a bit, nark and chomp, nark and chomp, and we’re going down, down, down, and they are so fixated on upwards. Upwards up the poop-pipe the wrong way.
“Not all of the stones are as sturdy as some of the others. Yes, we slip at times, only to –”
Drown. We slip at times, only to drown. And our senseless bodies fill and bloat and we sink, sink, sink, endlessly sink and it gets darker, so dark, and not a shard of light, not a glimmer. And not a hand, and not an eye. And not a word. And not a sound, or a soothing sigh. Nothing, as we sink, bloated, bewildered. And not a person on this planet, not a memory, not a poem, nothing can comfort, nothing can prevent our striken bodies, our striken drowning, nothing.
These days, schizophrenics are troubled by the oppression, the anti-poetry, the anti-thought of these hyper-positive spin-yarns. Yes, I know life is hard for you but. You know. Me. It is important that we consider me. Life is hard for everyone. Even me. Life is hard for me. I mean. Only this morning, the toaster broke. I got jam on my shirt. I caught my lonely lamentables in the zipper. Excruciate. Excruciate! My pain! You see? And I snuck a glimpse of my face looking back, quizzically, and momentarily it was: you’re a git, like the others you resent. So yes. You and your precious schizo-problems. You and your… Er, excuse me. Are you listening?
A recovery workshop is comprised of one or more persons explaining to other persons why they should “get a life”, and that not doing so is because they are making all the wrong choices.
Stop choosing the colour black. Stop choosing to listen to Sigur Rós’ Valtari. Stop re-reading Jude the Obscure. Stop the mulling over EM Cioran. Stop fixating on the annihilations. These are all your shitty shitty choices and they are making you a sick shitty person in a splendid era, for splendid people.
This is not a splendid era splendidly peopled. Is it?
Or as some would have it: All. The. Wrong. Choices. As if adding some grammatical petulance is equivalent to pathos.
To conclude todays parable: I put together my own recovery workshop, and marketed it to the recently beareaved, and to mortuaries, and to crematoriums, and other burial/burning specialists. Take up was slow, morbidly slow. Yet once the acrid pun was out the way, I got a few bookings. There is truly nothing in life more lusciously empowering of the non-sexual passions than finding oneself afore a roomful of dead folk, lying there, arrogance abounds, neither going forwards nor backwards, neither desiring nor annulling, merely composedly oozing, and as I say, standing afore these shameless shells, and shaming the shit-for-nothing life back into them. It’s a wonderful feeling. It is. I’m telling you now it’s an out-and-out extraordinary.
What is resilience? Resilience is being punch-drunk. It’s having your head caved in so many times you can’t feel the pain any more. Or, resilience is when it’s been so long in pain that pain is all you know and you keep on going through the pain. Because the pain has to cease at some point, right? That’s what they’ve been telling you, every chance they get, they keep on repeating the same yawny lines. Ofttimes they are singing it and passing you a song-sheet and a nudge in the back, a cold fixated stare, and you mumble along with them, dreadfully, hopelessly hanging on to whatever uninspiring moment’s rejected teaching offers you next.
We are alone. Endlessly, unstoppably alone. It begins, as it will end. Alone, alone, alone.
An immediate problem.
People who are pro-psychiatry also have cognitive liberty. Same as those who are anti-psychiatry.
Each group has cognitive liberty and thus will be endlessly locked in a tussle about who has the greater ethical right to claim their thinking as superior. At least in a legal sense.
The mind does not have a firewall and is hackable, from a distance, using various forms of consciousness-altering technology. There are no known defences against these technologies nor much awareness of their capabilities. So in the not-so-distant future, someone’s cognitive liberty could come under attack, invisibly, undetectably, and then this compromised cognition would be regarded as a protected right.
Then the problem of thought and thinking as a purely private process. And it is, and it isn’t. Thoughts are private until an attempt is made to express them. And then those expressions are interpreted by others, who will have thoughts of their own. But the expression of thoughts and thinking aren’t protected. And in many cases they shouldnt be.
For instance, a paedophile may think all the lurid thoughts they like. A terrorist may think all the hateful thoughts they like. A misogynist, a rapist, a bully, a bigot… all are free to think their thoughts just as much as they like. It’s when they express them that the trouble starts.
Then we move into the area of censorship, either by others, or self-censorship… and that’s another can of worms. But briefly, cognitive liberty modeled around whose values and whose language-choices and modes of expression and so on? Could this simply become another oppressive over-valuing for instance of academic discourse and language over and above other modes of discourse? Which aren’t strictly speaking thinking or cognition but styles of organising thinking and cognition which tend to be favoured over other styles, such as working class or minority ethnic and so on?
For a long time people have been able to think what they like without interference from others. Those days are fading fast. Technology is increasingly able to penetrate the mind and extract and insert thoughts.
If someone believes that unknown actors using unknown technologies are inserting thoughts into their minds. we have long considered this a delusion, or a feature of psychosis. Many serial and spree killers have claimed this has happened to them.
Should their experiences be considered sacrosanct and protected, especially now that the technology able to conduct such experiences is extant and active?
Hello Sera Davidow and Caroline Mazel-Carlton.
You’ve both done a good job here of dissescting the “pill-shaming!” exclamation and raised some interesting issues. There is a lot more that can be said on this subject and I hope either or both of you return to it at some future point.
Like many aggressive exclamations, the “pill-shaming!” exclamation is an attempt to both hold or retain personal power against a percieved attack, as well as a quite violent way to shut down discussion. But it also acts, as I think you’ve acknowledged, to push back against overly zealous antipsychiatry activists/trolls who refuse to allow psychiatric pills to play any meaningful or helpful role in an individual’s life.
Like you and many people I have close and longlasting relationships with people who choose to take the pills. And when younger I would find their decisions an irritant, a distraction from my antipsychiatry antiselfdrugging zeal. Most commonly as people age, they temper down. I’m glad to say that, putting aside the occasional outbreak of antichoice pox, I’ve tempered down.
One issue you haven’t touched on but worth considering is the power people attain once they are on the pills for some time. For instance, I know and have known a number of people who, well-aware of the withdrawal syndrome of cold turkeying antipsychotics, choose from time to time to coldturkey withdrawal because of the power they feel it gives them, ie a swift re-entry into the psychiatric system, or a way to take control of tricky social situations that have been burgeoning for some time, and which are maybe loking like the social tide is turning against them, if they’ve been up to no good and troubling the hornets nest, a tactically chosen coldturkey withdrawal can have the magnificent effect of them gaining significant power over others, and they can rapidly retreat or leave behind any scrutiny or critiscism of their prior behavior because like you know now they are in relapse, and nothing else matters.
I’ve seen that play out so often, I’m sure it must happen all over.
Not that I condemn those who do it. Desperate situations call for desperate actions, and in the UK at least, a tactical coldturkey withdrawal is perhaps the only way someone can access the help they feel they need.
(apologies for the numerous typos. I banged that out and must depart the keyboard, sharpish)
Removed for moderation
Q: Are Antidepressants Enabling the Population to Tolerate the Intolerable?
A: No. Alcohol has been serving that function for many thousands of years.
The explosion in antidepressants is a reflection of how miserable modern life makes many people. And has been making people miserable for a very long time. Only in recent times it’s become more acceptable to come out about it to doctors who, these days, fear the patient, fear doing nothing, and so prescribe antidepressants.
Unfortunately, even on SSRIs etc, people continue to be miserable, but maybe a little bit less so, in that their misery is at least acknowledged now, and kinda cared for, and they can feel like something is being addressed. And at the same time go on drinking copious amounts of alcohol…
Malignant narcissism isn’t a mental illness. It’s a personality-style, a tendency to construct grandiose victim-status and vengefulness against perceived narcissistic injuries. Here you’re playing the armchair shaming psychotherapist, placing the atrocities of Rodger squarely on his father, whose probably only fault was pursuing a career at the expense of being present for his son.
Psychiatry doesn’t depict personality disorder as a mental illness. Although as we all know, it’s often quite happy to drug the individual with personality problems.
In my experience, narcissists — many of whom are probably acquired situational narcissists — do very well in the mental health system, partly because we are culturally led on to equate fame with expertise. And they exploit that ruthlessly, unsurprisingly.
If I was to play the armchair psychobabbler, I’d guess that Rodger was a repressed homosexual, and the tragedy there was his inability to come to terms with that. He does, after all, describe in his manifesto the “trauma” of seeing heterosexual sex, and an adult female vagina, and spurns the advances of obtainable females, such that he can go on with his sense of persecution and rejection.
His father is flawed, his mother is flawed. So is everyone. Choosing to go on a spree killing is entirely the choice of the malignant narcissist/psychopath… it’s just a shame that he couldn’t have been identified sooner, and all tragedy perhaps averted.
Just to add that I am not equating repressed homosexuality with spree killing, generally. An old friend of mine spent 15 years in a marriage, had 3 kids, and was utterly miserable, but did well by his wife, and his children, and did his best to come out for them as gently as he could, although the whole experience was tragic.
Only there are complex issues. Rodger was overly-mothered, under-fathered, bullied and hung up about his short stature. He comes across as quite effeminate, and time and time again, people were kind to him, even people that he had previously been bullied by, and despite everything, a life coach that tried to encourage him into work (he lasted 3 hours as he considered manual work beneath him) and friends who offered him homely and humble wisdoms. But he chose a trajectory, a narcissistic trajectory, and no-one is accountable for those choices other than himself.
Jule Green wrote: “Rassulus, I agree that the main concern of therapists, or shall I say, “therapists,” is that if we abolish therapy, they won’t have jobs.
I don’t buy that at all. Too bad! How many patients and expatients on here have stated that psychiatry stole their career? And that’s okay?
Should we feel sorry for them? I don’t. Get another job, for godsakes. We writers call it a “day job.” Bag groceries. That’s what one shrink told me to do, if I recall correctly. Okay, so they ruined my career and that’s their answer? Go work for Dunkin Donuts or McDonald’s. They’re always looking for people.
Funny, they counsel people who are jobless, feel oh so sorry for us…fake empathy…and then they panic over their own potential joblessness.”
I dunno, I am quite a sentimentalist at heart. When I read about the last hangman in England, I felt a tinge of sadness for a lost profession, a lost art, despite that I am against the death penalty and that hanging, in particular, seems designed to appeal to some peoples’ need to attain multiple sadistic emotional orgasms in answer to their grief and anger and vengefulness (the fact that many innocent people swung is a secondary concern).
I’m not sure who to point the finger at with regards my laughably ruined life. Multiple fingers have to point back at myself because some of the choices I made, from the age of 5 years old and onwards, were tragi-comically self-defeating and although numerous therapists and wannabe therapists have chastised me for being less than charitable about the “inner child” I don’t think I have an inner child, the child is long gone, adults that claim to have an inner child come across to me as a little bit creepy. An inner tendency to at times be child-*ish*… well that’s something else entirely.
But I digress. I think it’s sad for anyone to lose their jobs, especially if they have made a lot of sacrifices for it. Psychiatrists invest many years to attain that role. As do psychotherapists and really all serious professionals will undergo a lifetime of supplementary learning throughout their careers.
I think a lot of them would do better to work with abused animals. There may come a day in our lifetimes when the cattle and meat industries find their consciences and are gradually phased out so these poor creatures destined for ritualistic slaughter are emancipated and reintroduced to the wilds, or somewhere between the death-camps and the wilds, there will be lots of openings for compassionate and empathic individuals to help them.
And certainly a lot of psychotherapists would find their skills far more appropriate in helping cows and pigs and sheepies and wotnot rather than be trusted with other human beings.
Psychiatrists might also be better suited to working with emancipated meat too. They certainly show a real flair for working with meat. Of course the stringent guidelines against abusive practices might put many of them off, but I am sure many could adapt, and adapt very successfully.
I also found this to be an excellent piece and a thought-provoking examination of the contradictions between mad pride and recovery. The polarity map was excellent and a useful tool I haven’t come across before. I’ll try and use that when I’m in another mental mexican stand-off. It’ll be useful I’m sure.
Thanks for replying.
What is an extreme state?
A friend of mine was kept in a psychiatric ward for nearly 3 years because he refused to speak to the psychiatrists. It was only at the point of being threatened with ECT that he relented. He lied to them and thanked them for helping him. And soon after they let him go.
I don’t understand what you mean about middle class families and capitalism. I also am not sure what middle class values are? Aren’t they the same as working class values but with a fear of working up a sweat or getting the hands dirty or risking the nails?
Also, I’m not sure about the need to eradicate psychotherapy. I mean, as you’ve written, people will go on paying people to listen to them drone on about themselves. And in many cases, you’d *have* to pay someone to pretend to be interested. Only objection I have is that the payments go in one direction only. Most therapy seems to be about making the therapist feel better about themselves. So they should be paying their clients.
Life coaches are another matter. A life coach is a more pragmatic individual. They will tell you what you already know but don’t want to hear, and charge a premium for it.
The only advantage I can see with the psychiatrist over the other two is that, by the by, they aren’t going to pretend to like you or pretend to be interested in you. That’s something I do admire about them. You can be sure they will make it absolutely clear they consider you to be contemptible and beneath them.
I also concerned about what all the pretentious people are expected to do if we do away with these professions?
The New Age is a big enough circus as it is…
I do agree with you that there needs to be some kind of defence network to help people that don’t want to mix it up with these self-professed experts that can do a lot of deep damage.
In fact a defence network is an excellent idea and I’ll approach you soon with some ideas of my own which may help you move these ideas forwards.
That’s true, Fiachra but I wasn’t focusing on the feelings so much as the effects of living in a kind of virtual war-zone. Which can be frightening and thrilling all at once, sustainedly stressful in ways that impact a person’s life in unparalleled ways.
In others words, the experience and impact of The Fear upon the person with schizophrenia will be remarkably unalike how fear impacts the general population, even in an actual war-zone.
This is why people with schizophrenia have been afforded disability status and concomitant disability rights. It would be uncivilised for society to dismiss the impact of schizophrenia on a person, and thus deny disability rights, and I for one will always push back against any attempts to do so.
I agree that the study is worrying for mice.
Given recent advances in neurology I’m surprised that they are still using mice as avatars for human beings.
However, the womb is a very toxic environment the world over to incubate new human beings. With all the heavy metals, pesticides, plastic particulates, chemicals in food and so on… the food chain is fucked.
Plus the consumption of alcohol, the pollution from roads, the electromagnetic radiation… and so on…
Studies like these do not account for any of these factors. They pretend that we live in an alternate universe where none of these factors have relevance. And end up looking like exercises in scapegoating…
I agree that women should not be using psychoactive drugs at all during pregnancy… even though that is pretty much unachievable.
One last point. You sidestepped my joke. Can you describe to me an autistic mouse?
I agree that it isn’t a justification for ECT. Even though there are many people whose names I know and who have had some measure of impact on the world following ECT, when, in all likelihood, they would have remained in obscurity had they not had it.
A similar problematic rose from the ashes of Nazism and the Holocaust. Names like Primo Levi and Viktor Frankl… had they not endured such horrific experiences we probably would never have heard from them.
That isn’t a justification for the Holocaust.
Simply an observation that horrible experiences can lift people out of the mire in a way that hugs and cups of tea don’t seem able to match.
Simply a reminder that life is not black and white, always — and that “being nice” (for the best?) also brings with it mundane outcomes, obscurity, and boring people.
Which is why I am warming to your perspective. All the Recovery and the Therapy and the Life Coaching is banal and fosters banality.
Only a political fight with all its risks and dangers and passions can truly awaken what’s inspiring and honest and worthwhile in people.
To be fair to myself, I’ve long endorsed this perspective. I think it gets covered in the toxic cultural dust of “putting on a front”, “fake it ’till you make it”, “be positive and change the world” kinda baloney that we are all under pressure to comply with.
A good dusting down from time to time is necessary.